Links 5/22/2023

Inside A Billionaire Bee Colony Forbes

Neural mechanisms of parasite-induced summiting behavior in ‘zombie’ Drosophila (accepted manuscript). From the Abstract: “For at least two centuries, scientists have been enthralled by the ‘zombie’ behaviors induced by mind-controlling parasites.” Indeed!

Trust and public policies Bank of International Settlements


Wildfire’s Toxic Legacy Leaves Children Gasping for Air Years Later Bloomberg


Panama Canal imposes shipping restrictions to cope with worsening drought Bloomberg


Maternal SARS-CoV-2, Placental Changes and Brain Injury in 2 Neonates (case reports) Pediatrics. “The constellation of clinical findings, placental pathology, and immunohistochemical changes strongly suggests that second-trimester maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection with placentitis triggered an inflammatory response and oxidative stress injury to the fetoplacental unit that affected the fetal brain. The demonstration of SARS-CoV-2 in the deceased infant’s brain also raises the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 infection of the fetal brain directly contributed to ongoing brain injury. In both infants, the neurologic findings at birth mimicked the presentation of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy of newborn and neurologic sequelae progressed well beyond the neonatal period.”

Diminished antiviral innate immune gene expression in the placenta following a maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. From the Comment: “[P]regnant people with even a mild COVID-19 disease course at any time in pregnancy and of any body habitus are equally susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 placental innate immune suppression. Whether an impaired placental immune response correlates with other vital functions and might underlie the increased stillbirth risk associated with maternal COVID-19 is unknown. Interestingly, our findings parallel that of other studies in mice indicating ‘viral priming,’ by which an initial viral infection impairs placental and cervical immunity, thereby increasing the risk of subsequent infection.”

A good question:

IIRC, New York was short on freezer space.


Hong Kong mask manufacturers report ‘surprise’ uptick in sales as Covid-19, flu cases climb 3 months after mandate scrapped SCMP. If it’s surprising, that just shows CCP “Covid is over” propaganda is just as thick as USA! USA!’s.

From over the transom, a friend of GF reports on hospital ventilation in China:

This afternoon, I went to a local hospital in Y, Z Major Municipality, where I spoke with Doctor X, who is managing the Covid-19 virus control department. They were very helpful, providing all kinds of details about the way they keep the virus under control:

There are two main technical changes they made on all rooms, including ICU and A&E rooms:

According to Doctor X:

They switched off and blocked all central air conditioning systems. Instead, they installed separate air conditioning devices in each room. The installed UVC germicidal lamps in each and every room. The laps have to be switched on every 6 hours for 30 minutes. That’s highly inconvenient, she said, because there should be no-one in the room when the UVC lamp is on.

Interesting on UVC. This is hospitals only. I wonder if China is building out this approach to the rest of the country, not? And why they are only doing it now?

* * *

China Bans Some Sales of Chips From U.S. Company Micron NYT

‘Silly balloon’ changed it all: says US President Biden on US-China ties Business Standard. Fulll quote: “[T]his silly balloon that was carrying two freight cars worth of spying equipment.” Oh.

Biden says US, China should see a ‘thaw very shortly’ Channel News Asia

Why nations seeking to hedge between US and China should look to Vietnam, not the Philippines South China Morning Post


Pakistan needs a new vision — an intra-elite war isn’t the answer Al Jazeera

Against the stream: Iraq artist battles to save boating tradition France24

European Disunion

“I Should Sue Them For Defamation” – Patrick Lefevere Hits Back at Gazzetta Dello Sport’s Accusations that Evenepoel Fled Giro D’Italia CyclingUptoDate. Press just as ghoulish on “Covid is over” in Italy as here.

Facebook parent Meta hit with record fine for transferring European user data to US AP

‘Very impressive’ election win for Greece’s conservatives France24

Dear Old Blighty

They’re openly saying it: Brexit has failed. But what comes next may be very dark indeed Guardian

New Not-So-Cold War

Why Are We in Ukraine? Harpers. Grab a cup of coffee. (I’m not sure there’s a diplomatic solution, however. The United States would need to be agreement-capable. How would that be possible?)

It’s Not Enough for Ukraine to Win. Russia Has to Lose. Eliot Cohen, The Atlantic

Put Ukraine on the U.N. Security Council Bernard-Henri Lévy, WSJ

* * *

Biden said Zelenskyy gave ‘flat assurance’ he won’t use F-16s in Russia: Ukraine live updates USA Today. Actually, “Russian geographic territory,” so in Big Z’s mind, he now has permission to use F-16s in Crimea. Getting Big Z ready for the shiv?

Russia says F-16 transfer to Ukraine would raise NATO question Al Jazeera

* * *

Military briefing: how Russia is fortifying its frontline for Ukraine’s counteroffensive FT

A top Ukrainian commander fighting around Bakhmut says military experts who portray Russian soldiers as only ‘stupid and miserable’ are wrong Business Insider

Ukraine war – live: Kyiv aims to ‘encircle’ Putin’s troops in Bakhmut as Russia claims to have captured city Independent. Let me know how that works out.

* * *

Time for Ukraine to launch an anti-corruption counteroffensive Politico

Leaked recordings expose shocking state corruption in ‘US governed’ Moldova The Grayzone

South of the Border

5 trade moves China has made in 2023 in Latin America – the traditional backyard of the US South China Morning Post

Mexico refuses to hand over trade bloc presidency to Peru’s de facto president People’s Dispatch. From last week, but the most informative and timely English-language post I can find. Readers?

Biden Administration

Yellen says June 1 is ‘hard deadline’ for raising debt ceiling Reuters

Debt-Ceiling Talks Devolve Into Finger Pointing and Frustration as Deal Remains Elusive WSJ. Meanwhile:

McCarthy says Biden call on debt limit ‘productive,’ leaders to meet Monday The Hill

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Crunch Week on the Debt Ceiling FOX

* * *

Monopoly Round-Up: The Debt Ceiling and a Major Win against Airlines Matt Stoller, BIG


Hunter Biden Faces Call for Key Business Associates in the Arkansas Proceedings Jonathan Turley

The Bezzle

Part 2: What is KPMG’s bank audit quality history with the PCAOB and SEC? (excerpt) Francine McKenna, The Dig

Digital Watch

OpenAI CEO Predicts AI Will Someday Give Birth To Twins, Their Names Will Be God And Satan The Onion

The crackdown on risky chemicals that could derail the chip industry FT

Supply Chain

COVID boom not over yet for ‘landlords’ of shipping lines Hellenic Shipping News

Zeitgeist Watch

How the American Dream convinces people loneliness is normal AP. “During the pandemic, Murthy’s report found, people tightened their groups of friends and cut time spent with them. According to the report, Americans spent 20 minutes a day with friends in 2020 — down from an hour daily two decades ago. Granted, that was during peak COVID. The trend, though, is clear — particularly among young people ages 15 to 24.” Yes, that’s why non-pharmaceutical interventions to clean the air in public spaces would have been important, given that vaccines do not prevent transmission.

Imperial Collapse Watch

America’s Trains and Buses Are Speeding Toward a Cliff New York Magazine

America’s surprise revival: The suburbs Axios

Taught For America Year Zero

The strange death of education reform, part one Matt Yglesias, Slow Boring. Part two.

Class Warfare

Warner Bros. CEO jeered at Boston University graduation: ‘Pay your writers!’ MarketWatch. More like this, please.

The Subminimum Wage Plus Tips: A Bad Bargain for Workers CEPR

Striking Writers Find Their Villain: Netflix NYT

Rigged Capitalism and the Rise of Pluto-populism: On Martin Wolf’s “The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism” Los Angeles Review of Books

Waste Your Time, Your Life May Depend On It The Convivial Society

What Number Comes Next? The Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences Knows. NYT. The examples given show a lot of interplay between numeral and number. But what if the numerals are, say, Katovik numerals? Or cunieform? It seems strange that an integer sequence would not be portable across representations.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. griffen

    Debt ceiling negotiations are akin to the playground game Kick the Can. I don’t remember all the particulars, other than grass stains on pairs of jeans or Sears brand corduroy pants. But let’s just be honest for honesty’s sake. None of them are serious.

    Cut some military spending, well of course not. That’s the real meat on the bone, and they won’t touch it, can’t touch it. The phony political leaders are guiding this Titanic, and that iceberg unfortunately is not phony after all.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s not a serious list. He needs it for the dead ender blue team supporters who are getting antsy. This will assuage them. Hes been President for over two years, and now he cares? And in DC for 50 years?

        This list is absurd as Mark Warner promising rural broadband every other month so kids can do homework since he ran for Senate. It’s the promise of red meat for the true believers.

        I imagine the WH is in a panic they may have to do something and that will open the door to “what can they do next”.

        1. John

          I think of it as a wish list but one with which I find simpatico. I agree with another commenter as to the omission of the Carried Interest Travesty.

        2. Oh

          Biden’s just posing as a populist. He wants to cut defense spending? How ’bout cutting money flowing to Ukraine? He wants cut $$$ to Pharma? Yeah sure! Raise taxes on the rich? I’ve heard that before. Go away Joe. Nothing to see here.

      2. John

        The Eliot Cohen and Bernard Levy articles cannot possibly be as foolish as the titles imply. As each is behind a paywall, I have no means of verifying that contention so it shall have to stand until and unless refuted by someone with access.

        1. Lex

          I have the same paywall issue and neither author is worth the effort of circumvention. I assume they are quite serious in their own way. Any solution they develop has to be within their limited worldview. Perhaps the larger problem is that people take them seriously enough to publish their thoughts.

        2. pjay

          You are apparently not familiar with Eliot Cohen or Bernard Henri Levy. They are two of the most despicable propagandists for US neocon wars in operation (though competition for that title is fierce). Levy first gained prominence as one of the “post-Marxist” “New Philosophers” in France in the 1970s, and it was downhill from there. I don’t think NATO has an official “house philosopher,” but if they did Levy would fit the bill nicely. I won’t go to the trouble to breach the paywalls, but I would be surprised if the articles are not worse than the titles.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            I don’t know anything about Cohen, but Henri-Levy is a cartoon figure, who epitomizes every stereotype of the vain, self-satisfied French intellectual, except that his political log-rolling skills and sycophancy to power seem to put him in a category of his own

    1. jefemt

      Fer gosh sakes let’s not entertain MMT, and allow folks to see that the man behind the curtain is simply a power/greed/control freak named Political Will….

    2. djrichard

      The deficit doesn’t matter. This is a fake crisis. But Biden doesn’t want it to be fake – he wants to make a deal.

      1. JTMcPhee

        The Grand Bargain, it never died. Hope these people rot in some kind of hell, not that the universe seems at all likely to generate post-mortal retribution.

    3. Jorge

      Well… my brother acquired a chipped vertebrae from Kick the Can, which got him out of Vietnam after his number came up. It still bothers him a bit, occasionally.

      The doctor who signed him “4F” wore an earring. “I think we can get you out of this!” a quote burned into his brain.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Put Ukraine on the U.N. Security Council”

    Well of course it would be somebody like Bernard-Henri Lévy coming up with this sort of idiocracy. He has been in on Project Ukraine from the start where he showed up at the Madan to show his support way, way back in 2014. He is one of those characters whose simple presence raises red flags.

    The Ukraine is not fit to be on the UN Security Council but having said that, I would suggest that the UK and France be dropped for a member from Africa and South America each instead. The present set up merely reflects the situation from 1945.

    1. Quentin

      Now, isn’t that a show-stopping suggestion if there ever was one? Advanced in good faith by one of the honorary founding fathers of the ‘Maidan Revolution’.

    2. Terry Flynn

      Of course membership of the security Council is done via votes with competing nations from various geopolitical blocks. I suspect Ukraine would lose any vote. Interestingly, the USSR actually had THREE “votes” in the UN. Ukraine and what is currently called Belarus had, for some reason, separate seats to the “core USSR” one that had status as permanent member of the security council.

      One could argue de jure that Ukraine and Belarus were sovereign states even back in days of the USSR (even if de facto they weren’t and indeed had UN titles that cleverly included USSR in them so nobody could argue “independence”). I’m surprised nobody has found a legal loophole using this fact that can be hidden behind to justify the meddling of the west when the history books are written.

      1. Jessica

        The USSR was given threat seats in the UN to mollify it. In those days, most of what are now independent states were colonies of one or the other European empire, so the original UN was highly imbalanced in favor of the West.
        Note that when Ukraine SSR was given its seat in the UN, Crimea was part of Russian Federated SSR, not part of Ukraine SSR.

  3. OIFVet

    “Mr. President, what the people of Ukraine are defending and what you’ve achieved is a matter for the entire world to observe.

    I speak for America when I say that we’re in awe of what you’ve done so far.”

    You don’t speak for me, Joseph Biden. “America” is more than your neocon circle.

    PS Where are my $600? Up Zelensky’s nose?

    1. griffen

      I am impressed at how quickly we have burned through those billions. Let’s keep the fires burning, and send more billions! That $600 was sent post haste to Ukraine, comrade. \sarc

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      Dunno about this habit, but it may have been spent on real estate, London, Florida, Italy and Israel.

      Being a veteran, you will love this.

      From this year, the British armed forces no longer host and subsidise gatherings of veterans unless it’s an official occasion.

      Next month and after cancellation due to covid in June 2020, the UK Parliament will resume hosting and funding in full the annual summer reception for serving Israeli military professionals of British origin.

      1. John

        One more indication that the politicians in the UK and the US do not serve the interest of the nation they purport to represent.

        1. Ben Gunn

          Exactly! This x1000! How does this simple message get amplified? This is the message that might mobilize people in the streets. It is the same massage of many re…er… “people have used in the past”. This is a legitimate question, but I realize it probably shouldn’t be addressed here.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Thank you, Colonel. You can see their real priorities here. I see that even though they want to fight the Russian bear, that they are still going to reduce the size of the British Army to about 74,000 soldiers. That will mean that you could seat every one of them at Old Traford Stadium in Manchester in one sitting.

    3. Pat

      I was offended, but then had to realize that the “America” Biden talks about is a small coterie of those in powerful bureaucratic positions that don’t blink when a lieutenant in the organization asks a group of them to sign a fraudulent document to protect the current selected face of said bureaucrats. They have a very large circle of territories of extortion. I am sure they are in awe of Zelensky. He not only did well as a comedian, but as President of a country clearly losing territory and huge portions of its citizenry to immigration and death, he has kept the money flowing. His take must be impressive by now. And Z also has Biden by the short hairs, at least if Biden wants to keep his portion flowing. There can be no admitting the upstart is a loser. They may not like it much, but the puppet has done the best in all the ways that matter. He is still alive, he is richer than most of them, and without him their public illusions about Ukraine dissolve like the ether they are.

      Even the picture they chose is confused. They both are taking power positions. It seeks to look as if Biden is in control, but Zelensky is not only in the lead of the movement but his hands are in Biden’s face not in a pleading manner but in a let me explain it to you formation. Quite obviously they do not have a photo where Zelensky is in a position that screams gratitude.

      1. Val

        Pointing and laughing–Joe is their chosen installation, perfectly representative and apparently the best the evil empire can do. Karma is real/Bless their hearts. It’s a feel good story as the very last thing humanity needs right now is competency in the stately domes of the western death cult, or amongst their histrionic minions and authoritarian oompah loompahs.

        VoteBiden 2024: “the puppet has done the best in all the ways that matter”.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        I’ve been looking on Youtube for Zelensky’s cover of “Can’t Find My Way Home” with Z himself on keys. No luck yet, but I can’t wait to hear that gravelly baritone intone:

        And I’m wasted,
        and I can’t find my way home.

        Blind Faith version

      3. Henry Moon Pie

        Which reminds me…

        Remember that awkward interaction recently when Biden pushed the South Korean president to perform at a WH event? Maybe next time Z’s in the East Room, Biden can get him to play piano.

    4. Robert Hahl

      Biden spoke a simple truth. The world can observe. And I for one really am in awe of what they have achieved in Ukraine.

      1. Pat

        The world has observed and more than half of it recognize Ukraine as fascist puppet state waging a proxy war for an increasingly belligerent and bellicose America. You might want to actually add up who has and hasn’t agreed to the Russian sanctions.

        Polling on American support has shown that after the first weeks support for Ukraine has pretty much steadily dropped to barely a majority in the last one I saw. And that was before the steady default and debt limit droning. I wouldn’t count on that majority holding.

        Oh and Biden has a long history of lying. He could make one think of the famous quote from Mary McCarthy about Lillian Hellman, just changing she to he and writes to say. It makes those odd moments when he does utter something honest the more noteworthy. This is not one of them, even if you would like to think so.

      2. Glen

        Indeed, observe very closely. Especially Taiwan.

        Do American neocon policy makers really care if Ukraine becomes a failed state? Destroyed infrastructure? Collapsed industries? Wrecked cities? Tens of millions of refugees. Who knows how many dead.

        The American neocons do have a track record, this does seem to be the end result everywhere they go.

        1. Dida

          America’s recent track record always includes civil war, most often partition, and usually loss of sovereignty: Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, a list that would make the Devil proud. Sudan and Somalia should probably be included as well.

        2. rowlf

          I always liked this political cartoon of recent history of US adventures. Really nails what we are seeing today.


          (There are higher quality images out there. Also, the artist strangely gets the bear character’s face like a combination of characters.)

  4. Jeff W


    Just over a week ago one commenter noted that the official acronym in the Latin alphabet of the Communist Party of China is CPC but maybe you’re deliberately invoking the old Soviet Union and the Cyrillic acronym CCCP when referring to “propaganda”?

    1. tevhatch

      Habits die slow and die hard. Few “western” people come close to pronouncing my birth name correctly much less spell it out from the sound. How about saving this one for next time? “I know you mean well, but the (English) acronym for the English translation of 中國共產黨, The Communist Party of China, is more properly written as CPC.” It might be more effective at achieving the solicited response.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Wouldn’t it be better to refer to the People’s Republic of China? Yeah, I know that they only have one political party in China which is why the reference to the CPC but is it so different to the uniparty that we have in the US, UK, etc?

      1. Jeff W

        “Wouldn’t it be better to refer to the People’s Republic of China?”

        I think the reference is to Party propaganda and that would mean the CPC, not the People’s Republic of China. (I might be missing your point.)

        1. tevhatch

          “If it’s surprising, that just shows CCP “Covid is over” propaganda is just as thick as USA! “USA!’s.

          I’m curious, what would you have changed for USA!?

          1. Daniil Adamov

            Can always use NAUS, for North American United States? Pre-revolutionary Russian usage…

          2. Jeff W

            Oh, that’s a good question. Now I get The Rev Kev’s point. I don’t know—I’m not so sure I would have been all that concerned with consistency in terms of party/country. (It doesn’t seem like lambert was.)

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      This is something I find curious about MAGA. Steve Bannon or Crowder or any of the other Rumble Righties never speak the word “neoliberal.” Unfailingly, they use “Marxist” or “Communist.” Is this just an appeal to us old folks who were raised on a diet of the evil Commies? If so, I doubt this technique is as useful with Boomers as it was with the Korean or WW II generations. And given the increasing attractiveness of “socialism” among the young as documented by polls over the last decade, this Marxist/Communist attack line is probably hurting MAGA with people under 50.

      And I guess we have to throw in the Jordan Peterson contention that Wokeism is Marxist. I just don’t see those epithets as having much power with younger people. And it’s a big turn-off to real Lefties ready to drop Left/Right for a while to pursue and Inside/Outside strategy to get rid of the Democrats and their allies in the Security Establishment.

      1. Lex

        I agree except in the effect on Boomers. Boomers were more thoroughly propagandized than just about any generation in history. And while many appeared to shake their fists at it during the late 60’s, it wasn’t excised from their deepest consciousness. IMO, the raging success of Russiagate was primarily because so many Boomers were pre-programmed to hate the evil Russkies. (Not all Boomers, obviously.)

        Sometimes I refer to Boomers as the duck and cover generation. It helps me to temper the Xer frustration with them because their childhood was full of existential fear and overwhelming glorification of the US military. You cannot easily break early childhood training. As it applies to using “Marxist” or “Communist”, I’d guess that not only does that appeal to the indoctrination of many Boomers but as the first generation that was weened from pension and put on the market, many are terribly fearful of someone taking everything the “worked so hard for”.

        Beyond that, I always go back to Dimitrov’s definition of fascism, “The political expression of finance capitalism.” At the end of the day Bannon and similar are fascists under Dimitrov’s definition and the fascist will always place the blame of society’s ills on “communism”.

        1. Yves Smith

          FWIW, I never got any duck and cover drills. And the last boomers were born in 1964, so those born say through 1979 (at least 12 years old when the USSR fell, there was a lot of hating on Russia during the Reagan era) would have gotten a dose. And demonization of Russia restarted, although not as fiercely because Russia was perceived as weaker, after the mid 2000s when it became clear Putin was no Yeltsin. That was more of the “Russia is incompetent, second-tier, and/or authoritarian” sort.

          1. elissa3

            Re: duck and cover, dunno. As a NYC kid in the 1950s, I’ve maintained that these drills were what caused (some of) my generation to be skeptical of power and to question authority, even before the LBJ/Nixon periods. As 7 year olds we were able to read that when the Commies sent their bomb onto Manhattan we would be vaporized in about a second. So, these teachers telling us to file out of our classrooms, in height order no less!, to sit cross-legged in the hallway with our hands over our heads, were batshit crazy. And if they were nuts on this, what else were they telling us that wasn’t untrue?

            1. B24S

              Hear, hear!!

              I’ve written about exactly that regarding both my wife and I. We were of the “bend over and kiss your ass goodbye” set. Tom Lehrers’ “We will all go together when we go” was a gift from my parents.

              I admit to being red-daiper adjacent. We were a “starving artist” family, and when we were hungry, we were fed by an actor on the blacklist. I was on Ban the Bomb marches as a toddler by 1956. A few years later, when I was in the Cub Scouts in Manhattan (we met in an apartment building basement, but there was no camping, which was what I really wanted), my older brother convinced me that when the Russians came, us Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts would be up in the trees with carbines, as the Hitler Youth had been in 1945. At that point I quit the scouts. Then came ‘Nam, and I just got lucky with a high lottery number.

              In 2003, as the bombs fell in Iraq, I spent an evening in Germany with a older gentleman who was experiencing ptsd from when he was 10, and his city, Hanau, had been bombed with white phosphorous. He’d been moved out of the city, and saw people in the river that would come up for air, and catch fire as the wp was exposed to oxygen. When the German army pulled out, they taught all the kids how to target tanks and set booby-traps.

              Glad I listened to my brother…

          2. LifelongLib

            I only encountered duck and cover for a brief period in the first grade, which I realized years later must have been during the Cuban Missile Crisis. At the time we were told it was “a new kind of fire drill”.

          3. Bill Malcolm

            I went through exactly one duck-and-cover. Well, actually I refused.

            My family emigrated to Canada in 1959. I was twelve. My father had wanted to escape Blighty where as a psychiatrist he was paid less than an Austin car assembly worker, one-third less, 20 quid a week compared to 30 and had a wife and four kids to feed. He had left the RAF as a Squadron Leader in 1953 because he didn’t want to put his family through constant relo moves by the military. Last posting was to RAF Box Hill, google it, all very secret and hush hush. He had served through the Berlin Airlift, and my first recollectable memories are of living just outside Hamburg at the major RAF base in the British-occupied sector of Germany.

            Dad by 1958 also wanted to bury himself in a rural area; the candidates were Tasmania or Nova Scotia. We ended up in Nova Scotia, Canada where he had become regional psychiatrist for two counties in a very rural area. Over three times the money in a government job than in Blighty, but less than half what regular local GPs made, as he soon discovered to his chagrin. That was before Medicare, which greatly lifted his boat as a specialist.

            In any case, the high school I attended was perched on top of a hill in a town across a huge inland bay perhaps five miles distant in a straight line from what had been the largest Navy recruit training establishment in the Commonwealth in WW2. In 1959, it was still operating but hardly at full tilt, perhaps 20% of its peak. (Never saw even one of our destroyers visit the place, let alone anything bigger — it closed decades ago now)

            So, out there in the middle of nowhere, the school had to conduct the nuclear drill. Even at the age of 12, I knew it was a farce. If for some unknown reason, Russia had a nuke to spare on the decrepit base, then line of sight would mean instant destruction of the school across open water. Russia didn’t have “little” bombs then. Nor very many, as it turned out, as Ike lied to the US public that the US was way behind when the opposite was the case. We’d never done a nuclear drill in Blighty at school, and we lived in Portsmouth, for goodness’ sake, the home of the Royal Navy when it still had, you know, a lot of warships. There was a potential real ground zero, and no mistake.

            It was an utter farce and show of paranoia to have a duck-and-cover under the desks in our little town, the way I saw it. I’d already found Canadians, but particularly the many summer Americans who then arrived every summer and opened their summer houses, kept talking about Commies and Reds and menace, something that was not part of everyday life and talk back in Portsmouth. We called them Soviets or Russians or Communists and they had the bomb too, but the pejorative Commie or Red terms weren’t much in use. Welcome to North America!

            Anyway, the drill was sprung on us schoolkids one day in school in late ’59 with five minutes preparation / explanation. Hide under your desks! I refused. Got to re-meet the Principal and Supervisor of schools who had been forced to admit me to Grade 9 with kids two years older than myself due to my superior Brit education — had already several years of algebra, etc.

            So Dad got involved when the school contacted him about me and my laughing at the dumb duck-and-cover routine. Backed me up completely and advised the Supervisor about a few of the real facts of life, like his experience of being under constant doodlebug V1 attack in London where he completed his initial MD medical residency in ’44-’45, and his subsequent RAF career in Germany. In the toy town we were now living in, a nuclear drill was not only foolish, but unnecessary, and not good for kids mental health, being officially told to be scared of woooo, Russkies and bombs. Plus, if it happened, we were all dead ducks anyway, as I had already worked out.

            We never had another drill.

            About sums up my feelings, developed over the decades since then, that North Americans were rather provincial in outlook, local-minded, not worldly and completely over-the-top propagandized by government against the Red Scare. Navel-gazing is a particularly American trait, I’ve noted, not diminished in the comments here, where many global topics devolve back to US this-and-that.

            My subsequent return to London for five years for a graduate degree starting in 1969, only confirmed that impression. The Brits had their strikes, dumb pols like Heath and Wilson and ooh Margaret Thatcher barking nonsense, but people didn’t wander around in a stupid haze about Commies. There were the sincere Ban The Bomb types, but most people felt that if the balloon went up, as they called it, well it was kiss your arse goodbye time — why worry about it?

            Times change, neoliberals arose like Satan reborn led by Thatcher and her plastic perm strict school headmistress spank the naughty boys contrived persona, and the UK has become the truly second class place it is today, Russophobic as all get out, and now isolated from the EU as well. But it took time to go nuts, and in North America, the Russia paranoia was always simmering just below the surface, ready to be revived in an instant by the usual suspects.

            My two cents on the matter. Great incisive main article today, btw, if I may offer kudos.

            1. rowlf

              Living on USAF Strategic Air Command bases in the 1960/70s, we had drills for weather events and earthquakes, but we all understood on some level that we where toast if a nuclear exchange happened so why bother? The gates would be locked and the airplanes would be launched. Practice your best prayers or a more basic human interaction for 20 – 30 minutes when the siren sounded.

              A very weird way to live. I can see why many missileers went bonkers.

          4. johnnyme

            I had an entirely different duck and cover experience growing up.

            At my high school in the mid 80s, all sophomores took the same social studies class and once a week, all class sections met in the school’s auditorium for film screenings. Every year the movie “Duck and Cover” was shown and when class was over and after half of the entire sophomore class had filed out into the hallways, without fail, there would be a group of seniors shouting “Duck and cover!” while pelting the sophomores with eggs.

            No one ever got busted and it happened every year so the faculty/administration must have gotten a kick out of watching the chaos.

            1. The Rev Kev

              They wouldn’t have if all those sophomores had made sure to have a ready supply of their own eggs for those seniors.

              1. johnnyme

                It’s funny — I never heard of any of the sophomores ever fighting back even though “Duck and Cover Day” was a well-known yearly event.

                I’m sure it would have been shut down pronto if the faculty were the targets but they never were as they all watched the show from doorways and other defensible positions.

          5. Joe Well

            I was a school teacher in an earthquake-prone area and we did multiple duck-and-cover drills a year. In an earthquake, most injuries and deaths are caused by falling objects. I would imagine it’s the same for a bombing. Also would protect students from flying window glass.

        2. spud

          the youth of america put obama in twice, and now biden.

          as a child i did a duck and cover, then asked the teacher how could we ever survive, when we saw the movie of a a-bomb test that flattened everything.

          as a youngster i figured it out, we could not.

      2. Raymond Sim

        As an epithet “Cultural Marxist” appears to be as brilliantly useful as it is idiotic and intellectually incoherent – Jerry Falwell’s “Secular Humanism!” with the advantage of being completely made up.

      3. Wukchumni

        I was born in the white heat of the Cold War being Generation Jones, but as I came of age Communism wasn’t really the bogeyman it once was and don’t really remember being ever frightened by its advances, the most visible for a young kid being the Soviet space program, where the biggest difference was, that we did everything in the open, and they typically only announced the results of a given space flight after the fact, controlling the narrative.

        There were no Soviet tourists coming to the USA and scant amounts of Americans going to the USSR, we seemed to revel in misunderstanding one another for the most part.

        1. chris

          Pardon my ignorance here, but from what I’ve read of Marx, is there any basis to assume that “Woke-ism” is Marxist? If anything, it seems to harken back to earlier philosophies, like what you’d read about from Confucius or certain Hindu Brahman? From Confucius, comes the fetishist references to norms and accepting one’s role in society. From Hinduism, the concept of a soul and a caste in a similarly peculiar way to people referring to preferred pronouns and what they identify as and the wrongness of people who question those assertions.

          I’ve never understood why people believe Marx and his theories explain this current cultural moment.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            Wokeism is Identity Politics, shorn of any class awareness (and often/usually expressed on a personal level with a heaping helping of Aghastitude and moral vanity). It is fundamentally a class project of the PMC, a jobs program, and a means of differentiating oneself and stepping over less “enlightened” (and often older) colleagues in shrinking professions such as academia and media.

            Associating Wokeism with Marxism is a political ploy on the part of the Right and the Performative Left, each for their own reasons, and each completely preposterous.

            1. Raymond Sim

              African-Americans have constituted a hereditary social caste. Their oppression has been different in kind from that of, for example, women, and the struggle for their liberation much more akin to class struggle per Marx.

              Ignoring this is the original sin of identity politics, and, I would argue, the reason idpol always turns fatuous.

          2. Daniil Adamov

            My impression is that Marxism is just being used to describe any kind of left-seeming conflict theory (i.e. any intellectual theory emphasising conflicts between groups or collective oppression as the defining element of society – which can indeed be fraught and subject to manipulations, by the way, as can attempts to deemphasise it).

          3. digi_owl

            That makes it sound like a new age religion.

            Funny how thinks keep boomeranging back over generations.

            Hippies discarded the religious moralism of their grandparents, and now it comes back like a boomerang as their grandkids produce a new set of religious moralism.

            Oh and no, it had crap all to do with Marx. It comes up thanks to a tenuous link between Marx’s use of Hegelian dialectics, via the 60s new left to the Frankfurt School applying the same Hegelian methodology but discarding anything material.

            And then all that gets labeled as “marxist” as a cheap resuscitation of the red scare.

          4. Polar Socialist

            According to Cynical Theories by Helen Pluckrose and Janes Lindsay, Wokeism evolved from postmodernism, which itself rejected Marxism as a mere “metanarrative” (just like Cristianity).

            When postmodernism burned itself out in the 80’s, it left behind “applied postmodernism”, which pretty much is what is meant by wokeism. Or what turned out into wokeism by inflicting most humanities and then spreading uncontrollably out of the academia.

            Of course, as mentioned here, it’s easy to use wide brush to conflate them since both are inherently evil anyway and are after out precious bodily fluids.

        2. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

          Going to have to side with Wukchumni and take a moment to stand up for Generation Jones – that weird bridge generation that’s not quite Boomer, not quite Xer….

      4. scott s.

        “neoliberal” is in the progressive lexicon. I don’t think you will ever see MAGA embrace the concept.

    4. barefoot charley

      China scholars have called it the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since WWII. Communist Party standard orthography has always been different, eg CPUSA, CPF(rance) etc, so the Party should indeed be titled the CPC. But the US had a unique missionary tie with China even before the war (Thanks, Henry Luce!) that fostered much liberal scholarship and charity. I suspect the non-standardized Party naming suggests that sympathetic foreigners aren’t just commie running dogs.

  5. The Rev Kev

    Looking at those dolphins in today’s Antidote du jour, why do I think that they are siblings?

  6. DJG, Reality Czar

    the tweet from tern:
    “People who talk about ‘the damage of lockdowns’ need to shut up, or answer this question:
    Where would you have put all the bodies?”

    And read on to the response from Tom Andrews:
    “Governments in the UK & US & elsewhere failed to act to ensure successful prevention of transmission, instead planned to manage failure.”

    And, hold on to your hats, this is where Robert F Kennedy, Jr, comes in. His response to Krystal Ball the other day (for which she is being made out now to be the Wicked Witch of the YouTube) when she asked about handling the epidemic was something along these lines: “Well, I’d see what off-label uses of drugs were available, and then I would network fifteen million doctors and find out what treatments they were using.”

    In short, passivity with regard to prevention of transmission and treatment. He would have delayed any quarantine as long as possible, which was what the West already tried.

    Meanwhile, in Taiwan, China, and Japan, people were putting their masks on. Taiwan did remarkably well.

    In my opinion, Kennedy is playing around in the extra-swampy world of U.S. resentments. Sure, he’s talking about CIA involvement in the death of JFK and how Sirhan Sirhan couldn’t have killed his father.

    Covid, unsolved assassinations–it’s resentment. Put it all together, and where’s the political program?

    1. t

      Hard to say. He did make trips to APAC counties during a measles epidemic to warn against using MMR vaccines and I never could understand that gift. (Except for free trips.)

      Best guess is he thinks people should sit up and take notice when he speaks, but they don’t because he a shallow idiot, so he fails around for things to say and he stumbled into being anit-vax.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        For about the umpteenth time, RFKJ is not “anti-vax.”

        He is against vaccines, in ever increasing numbers, that are not continuously monitored for safety and efficacy, mandated by law, and manufactured by pharma companies that have been relieved of all responsibility and liability by captured government “regulatory” agencies for adequate safety testing, injury to patients, quality control, and honest evaluation of the relative benefit of “vaccine” adverse events versus the disease it purports to prevent. (Or, as is the case since the miserable performance of the covid “vaccine,” the disease it purports to lessen the effects of for a few months, after which it achieves negative efficacy.)

        On what planet can this position possibly be considered lunatic fringe? If this were the case for all pharmaceuticals, vioxx would still be on the market.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Kennedy’s critique of the relationship between Big Pharma, the universities and the government is a cogent one, but what is his remedy? When Ball asked him about nationalizing Big Pharma, a solution that might actually work, RFKJ was, “Oh no! The profit motive is human nature.”

          1. jsn

            Yes, because money once grew wild on the savannah, tempting early primates down from the trees and into their human condition…

          2. Katniss Everdeen

            I’d imagine RFKJ would answer that since the “profit motive” is so strong in human nature, it should be harnessed to produce the benefits of ingenuity and ideas of anyone who would be motivated by it, as it was in the last century when american-made was the envy of the world.

            The purpose of government is to set the highest of standards, demand that they be met and maintained, and establish regulatory agencies scrupulously free of the pollution and corruption of industry influence.

            That bought-off politicians have allowed and even legislated unconscionable degradation of the system, from gaming pharmaceutical patents to paying kickbacks to federal “researchers” like fauci and every other abomination in between, does not change the fact that a system that exchanges profit for quality products is the most likely to produce the benefits we claim to seek.

            PS. If you watched krystal ball’s interview, you know she didn’t let him get a word in edgewise, focused as she was on her ignorant, “anti-vax” outrage.

            “Nationalization” is just a cop out for those too spineless to bring the hammer down by regulation.

            1. Don

              Why is his position on vaccines of any consequence? He is a Democrat, and even the best of them is not good enough to consider.

              1. jobs

                This. Him running as a Dem is yet another attempt to “reform from within”. It’s not going to work – the DNC etc. won’t let him. Hence, it disqualifies him as not serious.

          3. Diogenes

            The remedy is the same as in the old “Doc, it hurts when I do this” joke. Stop doing that.

            Simple! (Not easy. But uncomplicated.)

            I’d hate to bet my own green money on his likelihood of success, but at the very least he seems to recognize the problem, and actually consider it a problem as such, and not a meal ticket. Surely that’s a necessary first step?

          4. Diogenes

            As someone who’s generally supportive of his run (so far) I do confess that there seems to be a fundamental tension at least, if not outright contradiction, between all the (valid, no doubt) discussion of regulatory capture, excessive corporate concentration of power, his career as an environmentalist on the one hand, and the free market fundamentalist ideas which I’ve heard him voice more than once.

            Pollution is, no doubt, an “externality”. How exactly less fettered markets, rather than more regulation uncorrupted by capture is a solution to that is not at all clear, to put it modestly.

          5. Griner for Bout

            But just because his proposed remedy isn’t what you’d prefer, that doesn’t mean he or his arguments should be roundly dismissed. And the criticisms aren’t “his” per se – he’s simply a prominent voice repeating what many scientists and other observers see.

            Big Pharma could well be “nationalized” (we’d have to unpack that a little more) but the populace at large could still be required to take pharmaceuticals “in ever increasing numbers, that are not continuously monitored for safety and efficacy, mandated by law, and manufactured by pharma companies [or the government itself] that have been relieved of all responsibility and liability by captured government “regulatory” agencies for adequate safety testing, injury to patients, quality control, and honest evaluation of the relative benefit of…adverse events versus the disease it purports to [cure or] prevent.”

            I understand the immediate retort to this is that “nationalizing” removes the profit motive which directly underpins the drive for “more” of any and everything, all other considerations be damned. I am sympathetic to that argument and believe there is the proverbial “a lot of truth to it.” But even a cursory knowledge of history – and a touch of layperson common sense – demands a broader conversation around this issue than one effectively reduced to “profit motive” versus “nationalization.”

            1. Henry Moon Pie

              Well, playing around with campaign financing and trying to close a few revolving doors ain’t gonna do it. And are we now going to rely on people in those regulating agencies acting more like the Roosevelt boys and Bobby’s uncles in WW II than the Clintons and Obamas over the last few decades?

              Regulating capitalism is putting a serial killer under house arrest. See: history of United States since 1937.

        2. dao

          Prior to the pandemic, I considered RFK Jr to be a fringe lunatic, even though I had no idea what his actual positions were. In hindsight I realize I was influenced by the propaganda machine in dismissing him.

          I was a vaccine agnostic before the pandemic but the pandemic has turned me into a complete vaccine skeptic (I chose to not get the COVID vaccine). I’ll probably never get a vaccine again for as long as I live.

          1. Arizona Slim

            I’m right there with you, dao. And, true confession, I made the same decision that you did on those COVID shots.

            I would like to thank Naked Capitalism for alerting me to, ahem, issues with the clinical trials before the rollout. This, in addition to the speed with which these shots were rolled out and lack of liability for the manufacturers, led me to my decision.

            I don’t regret it.

            Meanwhile, one of my closest friends continues to suffer lingering effects from the single J&J shot that she took in late 2021. It was one of those “get this shot or lose your job” scenarios.

          2. some guy

            Not even the classical vaccines for things like measles, yellow fever, tuberculosis ( in some other countries) and so forth?

            That reminds me of Mark Twain’s story of the cat who touched a hot stove once. She never did touch a hot stove again. She never touched a cold stove again either.

    2. Bsn

      Hmm. Well, the political program? You have forgotten (or perhaps are unaware) about the approach that Uttar Pradesh (India), Mexico, Peru, much of Africa, etc. took to Covid. They employed the use of “off – label” drugs and over the counter treatments and exhibited much better results (AKA less death and sickness) than the USA and most of Europe. So, JFK’s political program, if taken by the USA would have resulted in a much better outcome. You mention “In short, passivity with regard to prevention of transmission and treatment.” however the countries that didn’t sit by passively while waiting for an ineffective vaccine and propaganda for results – fared poorly.

      1. Pat

        This was just an extension of Fauci’s failed approach to AIDS. Yes, we have form in this. If it wasn’t a “shot” to attack the disease head on, it wasn’t important and wasn’t to be used. Trying other things to slow and lessen the “symptoms” was actively discouraged. I do have to give Tony some credit, he learned to attack the promising off label treatments early and viciously this time around.

    3. Bart Hansen

      He has six categories of priorities, each one pointing to just a few short paragraphs. Although we are still a year and a half from the election, he needs to offer more specifics. He will probably go with media appearances by supporters and celebrities. The smears have already started.

    4. Henry Moon Pie

      He’s a Propertarian/Libertarian. One thing Ball helped RFKJ come clean on was his “market” approach to everything, even the environment. And libertarians from Rand Paul to Glenn Greenwald are just not able to comprehend social solidarity and collective action. All those terms are taboo words among them.

      I wish he would just run as a Libertarian Party candidate. He is doing nothing to advance critical policy priorities like M4A.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        Henry Moon Pie: Yep. He’s making left-y-ish jabs because of a cultural hangover. People on the left who have persevered know what the left means.

        That libertarianish-ism is also what motivates Thomas Fazi and C.J. Hopkins. It isn’t productive. There’s a lot of it around these days: Strong streaks in Jimmy Dore and Kim Iverson, too.

        In answer to Katniss Everdeen above, yes, we should be aware that RFKjr isn’t an anti-vaxxer. Worse, he’s a lawyer. So his idea of progress is gumming things to death, and being a lawyer, he wants many matters relating to the quality of human life to be thrown before the courts, not known for their mercy. It’s his business, and as the Richard Kline article archived at this site notes, it is also why liberals are useless.

        [I disagree about Glenn Greenwald. He’s just lovable Glenn, former litigator who can’t shut off the litigating. Further, his late husband and some of his associates in Brasil have taught him a thing or three.]

        Heck, it isn’t turtles all the way down: It’s lawyers all the way down. And down is a long, long way.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          I pointed out the other day RFKJ’s little “show me where I’m wrong” ploy. Nice switch of the burden of proof.

          I’ve been trusting Greenwald for 20 years and still do. But he did have that same inability to deal with the pandemic.

          1. Diogenes

            They also each agreed to post supporting links in the show notes substantiating their COVID vaccine claims.

            Krystal posted a link to a study funded by WHO (i.e., Gates); GAVI (i.e., Gates); and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

            You don’t have to consider Bill Gates to be the personification of some otherworldly evil for that to be disqualifying. It should be sufficient that he made $0.5B off the vaccine to see the conflict.

            RFKJ posted an independently financed Cleveland Clinic study showing that the vaccinated cohort of a large sample was more likely (i.e., vs. unvaccinated) to contract COVID after an initial period of some protection.

            1. Henry Moon Pie

              i do consider Bill Gates to the personification of evil, and would not mourn if he is stung by one of his robot bees. And I don’t have a quarrel with you about vaccines or RFK’s stance on them. But I do have a big problem with Covid denialism and revisionism. And I’ve found it disgusting the open way our elites regard our lives as disposable whether by virtue of our jobs, our health or our age. And I’m further repulsed the way the studies were rushed to show children were unaffected, just the sniffles according to Trump. And yes, it pisses me off that the vaccine studies were rushed so our marvelous leaders could claim victory, get us back to work and in the bars, and make the billionaires happy.

              All that was some “expert opinion” to keep up the ridiculous churn that occupies Americans daily for a little extra margin for the billionaires.

              We’d be better off building them pyramids with bricks without straw.

        2. pjay

          Though I’ve been a strong critic of “libertarians” my entire adult life, in today’s ideological muddle I find that one has to consider the specific topic under discussion when evaluating a “productive” argument. Are we talking about massive expansion of the National Security State into domestic surveillance and censorship? Are we talking about massive expansion of our “National Security” apparatus into the affairs of other nations either through extensive hybrid warfare or actual military invasion? Then I’m afraid that most of the positions I favor tend to be voiced by “libertarians” today, the *real* left having shrunk to a dedicated but tiny handful. Where are the anti-imperial “liberals” or “socialists” today? There may be a few left, but most are busy reinforcing our valiant fight against “authoritarian thugs” like Putin abroad, or Trump here at home.

          If Kennedy truly thinks the “profit motive” is the solution to our health care crisis, then he is as delusional as the many other economic “libertarians” we have been criticizing all these years. But anyone asking me to trust our current National Security State and its “experts” to determine when to lock us down or shoot us up is equally delusional. And anyone who thinks this position is paranoid is, at minimum, very naive in my opinion.

          What’s the answer to such a dilemma?

        3. Katniss Everdeen

          By virtue of his family’s sacrifices alone, RFKJ has a far more legitimate claim to democrat party membership than any of the contemptuous, race baiting, gender bending, money grubbing, brain damaged scammers, grifters and instagram performers who currently populate that sorry excuse for an organization, and who are now portraying him as some sort of a nutcase.

          Just because the democrats aren’t democrats anymore doesn’t make him “libertarian-ish” whatever that means.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            His uncle was a Democrat and advocated for national health care. Kennedy dismisses M4A as “politically impractical.” I don’t think the neoliberals will leave out of respect for Kennedy’s name, nor do I think they would if Eleanor Roosevelt herself rose from the grave and told them to get out.

          2. Michael Fiorillo

            Defaulting to “the profit motive is Human Nature,” instead of “Let’s use Anti-Trust legislation and the power of government to rein in Pharma,” seems pretty Libertarian-ish.

            1. Griner for Bout

              Indeed. This should be made known to Kennedy. Does Dennis Kucinich read NC?

              “Let’s use Anti-Trust legislation and the power of government to rein in Pharma.”

              Please, Bobby, for the love of…

          3. Don

            I’m sorry, but I don’t care about his families sacrifices; they were not sacrificers made for anything I valued at the time or value now. I certainly do not think better of him for being a Kennedy.

          4. Don

            My comment disappeared, or just wandered off somewhere. I wrote:

            “I don’t care about his family’s sacrifices; they were not sacrifices for anything I value now or valued at the time. I certainly do not think more highly of him for being a Kennedy.”

    5. Diogenes

      What basis is there to suppose there would have been more bodies than we wound up with? Perhaps people who ask “where would you put all the bodies” should answer the question of whether it is true or false that the disease is HIGHLY risk-stratefied. Extremely dangerous for the elderly, obese and others with comorbity factors (not to minimize either their humanity or certainly their numbers — those are large categories in this country, and no less deserving of compassion, concern and aid than anyone), and drasticly less so for the young and otherwise healthy.

      The Brownstone Institute crowd comes in for a lot of criticism in this space and I can’t help but think that some part of it is down to their (most of them — not all) conservative political views. I don’t share those any more than most of the commentariat here seem to, and don’t wish to co-sign for every jot and tittle of what they’ve proposed, however the nub of their proposals seems to reduce to 1) the notion that given a risk-stratefied hazard, a correspondingly calibrated (and NOT one size fits all) response is called for; and 2) in a world of limited resources, more resources should be allocated towards protecting those most at risk.

      That strikes me as plain old common sense and disregarding it, to tie this to another ongoing thread, to be a sort of “gnostic”, occult (“magical thinking”, etc. — choose your favorite) response.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Do you remember the videos posted by hospital workers in NYC and Detroit? Do you recall people dying of heart attacks because all the EMTs were occupied taken people with blue fingers to the hospital? Covid may not have been serious enough to impress you, but it filled the hospitals to the point they were unable to provide effective care to anyone. The half-assed lockdowns did manage to slow things down enough that not everywhere became like one of those cities hit early.

        It seems your “plain old common sense” is mired deeply in the profit-uber-alles mindset without an offsetting smidgen of solidarity against a common foe. What sort of remedy is there for a “risk-stratefied hazard”–otherwise known as a dangerous, highly contagious virus transmitted by aerosol–that threatens a near majority of the population?

        So could you describe just what sort of casualty profile would be worthy of more than a “calibrated” response? Would a virus killing 10% of those aged 0-10 be worth it? Now wait, we could be talking about closing Applebees. “But Applebees are people, my friend.”

        “Calibrated response.” Like a “balanced approach.” Headed 120 mph toward the cliff. “We must carefully calibrate our approach. Perhaps reduce our pressure on the accelerator but it’s too early to apply the brakes.” “Absolutely. Let’s not get carried away. Reducing pressure on the accelerator is a balanced approach.”

        I’ll stop there. Geez Louise.

        1. Diogenes

          In the name of civil discourse, I wonder if you’d do me the courtesy of pointing me specifically to something I wrote that gave you some basis to attribute to me a mindset of “profit-uber-alles”? (The German’s a nice touch, btw. But I’m not sure at whose expense it really comes.)

          You’re referring to the results of the policies we actually had. I’m referring to what at this point is necessarily counterfactual and therefore unknowable; i.e. what WOULD have happened if we’d had a policy response that took cognizance of the fact that the same virus presented a catastrophic risk for some, and a much lesser risk for others — which is a reality so thoroughly uncontestible that I assume (but please correct me) you won’t contest it. Acknowledging that much, is it then your contention that people materially DIS-similarly situated should nonetheless be treated precisely the same? Should someone who had JUST recovered from COVID, for instance, have been forced to immediately thereafter get vaccinated, fresh anti-body response be damned? Someone with a known allergy to a vaccine adjuvant? And if not, for what possible reason that’s not also completely contradictory to your prior statements?

      2. Raymond Sim

        Injury from Covid does not correlate to symptom severity strongly enough for your metric to be useful. Most transmission is by asymptomatic persons (55% last time I checked) so your notions of how to protect the vulnerable are of similar value.

        Anything describable as a ‘lockdown’ ended long ago. The economy is still f-ed, as is the healthcare system. The disease itself rolls on, and consequences predicted in 2020 are clearly manifest. The Brownstone gang were utterly wrong. If they’re not evil they’re morons.

        Notice how I didn’t have to reference politics at all? As I’ve pointed out in other contexts, you don’t need ideology to debunk pseuedoscience. A corollary would be that if the debunking of pseudoscience strikes you as ideological, your head’s been messed with.

        1. Diogenes

          Perhaps you were not intending to respond to me, in which case fair enough.

          Otherwise, it’s a near total nonsequitur. I could specifically point out how, but if you didn’t care to address the merits the first time, then re-stating them seems unavailing.

          1. Raymond Sim

            Your “merits” are measured by a bad metric – that was my first point, and you’re not nearly so lucid as you sound if it struck you as a non- sequiter.

            But I see you’re responding to others more or less at random now – Bhattarwhatsit lacks official power, Moon Pie’s terminology is uncivil. Lol Weak!

      3. lambert strether

        The whole “protecting those most at risk” gambit unsurprisingly morphed into not protecting anybody at all. Or did I miss the Brownnose Institute operatives leaping to the defense of those at risk from ending universal masking at MGH?

        1. Diogenes

          I don’t know.

          Did I miss Joe Biden appointing Jay Battycharya or Martin Kulldorff CDC Director?

  7. The Rev Kev

    ‘People who talk about ‘the damage of lockdowns’ need to shut up, or answer this question:
    Where would you have put all the bodies?’

    The past few months I have been seeing this narrative that the lockdown was a terrible time, that it caused so much ‘damage’ as mentioned here, that it was a nightmare that must never be repeated. I have even seen places that have changed their laws so that chief medical officers no longer have the power to call a medical lockdown. I think that this narrative is arising as the real damage was people getting off the treadmill for a while and changing their lives and priorities as a consequence and that those priorities no longer included ‘the economy.’

    1. ChrisFromGA

      The damage done to the office market is irreversible at this point. It’s been over three years since the lockdowns, and remote work is here to stay. So, yeah, there is a definite “revenge” feel to the PMC class’ bantering about how horrible the period from March 2020 to 2022 was. Somebody stepped on their air hose.

      I distinctly remember a lot of upside to the lockdowns – nobody on the roads, air quality went up, people slowed down their crazy schedules.

      Plan B is about to go into effect – AI to automate away all the jobs that nobody wants to do anymore. And some of the good ones, too. We’ll see how that works out.

      1. skippy

        C/RE is sliding off the cliff as we speak and taking a lot of mid/small banks with it – financial mono-culture – ?????

      2. some guy

        Wait. . . what? PMC revenge? Isn’t it the PMCs who are among the work-at-home people? What do PMCs care about what happens to the office building business? PMCs don’t own any of those office buildings. Rich people do.

        And it is Rich people who want revenge for the Great Resignation resulting from the Lockdown Time-out.

        Senator McConnell is not a PMC.

    2. Diogenes

      There’s probably some truth to that.

      But apart from the metaphorical treadmill, people also got off their actual physical treadmills. I.e., they stopped gym memberships. I know I did. And personally I would be unsurprised if that ultimately proved a bigger overall negative impact to my health than contracting COVID was.

      1. tevhatch

        When I see people through the glass plate that seems standard at the gyms I think of “A Traveler from Altruria” by William Dean Howells, which (who?) advanced the idea that there is something wrong with the balance of a lifestyle/society that makes a gym a necessity.

        1. Mildred Montana

          Gore Vidal was a big admirer of Howells. In his collection of essays “United States” he included one about him. And yet I’ve never read any of his works. Think I’ll give “Traveler” a try. Thanks.

      2. lambert strether

        Let’s not talk about you. Let’s talk about the population level. Are you really claiming that a million people died because they couldn’t go to the gym? Ir Applebees?

        And if we are going to talk about you, Yves went to the gym. She masked, used Betadine, and was careful about ventilation. So she was able, and chose, to avoid that particular “negative impact.”

        1. Diogenes

          Ignoring the obvious straw man…

          I value the site, and so I’m ever so pleased to hear that Yves, in her personal, particularized set of circumstances found a way to continue to go to the gym. In my experience, gym use is one excellent way to maintain cardiovascular health, maintain a healthy weight, and also a positive state state of mind. All valuable countermeasures against the risks of harmful effects of a COVID infection.

          In contrast to Yves, in my particularized circumstances, it was more of a challenge, the governor of my state having ordered my gym closed. I did the best I could to find other physical activity, but it was more difficult than (evidently) it was for Yves, and more difficult than it might have been for me.

    3. Lexx

      The article above ‘Waste Your Time, Your Life May Depend On It’ has something to say about what the ‘treadmill’ consists of; workers had some time to take a longer look at all those ‘tiny tasks’ that made up their days and say ‘no’. ‘No’ has a wonderful flavor you could develop a taste for… hard on the corporate bottom line though.

    4. Don

      Yes, I have yet to hear any valid criticism of lockdowns. Our business was deemed essential and our operation didn’t/couldn’t shut down. It was terrifying. And based on what we knew then, we all got vaccinated as much and as often as we could, did everything within our power and knowledge to protect ourselves, and crossed our fingers.

      Maybe I am wrong in doing so, but I tend to conflate anti-vax with anti-lockdown, and conflate both with the USA and the Right, current legitimate concerns about vaccines notwithstanding.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Maybe I am wrong in doing so, but I tend to conflate anti-vax with anti-lockdown, and conflate both with the USA and the Right, current legitimate concerns about vaccines notwithstanding.

        Highly ironic that [a] Trump delivered on vaccines, a temporary advantage [b] Biden promptly squandered. Unfortunately, in the current conjuncture, as we say, neither “the right” nor “the left” (i.e., liberals) and even mention either claim [a] or claim [b]. Hence, across the visible political spectrum — a subset of a larger political field of more than two dimensions — no reasoned discussion of Covid policy can be had.

        1. some guy

          But it wasn’t vaccines which Trump delivered on. It was mRNA para vaccinoids. Which have elsewhere in these threads been acknowledged to be non-sterilizing.

          And it was the Trump-conservative side of the divide which first made mask-wearing evil and hateful and rejected on its side of the divide. The Biden Administration built on this Trump legacy precedent by proceeding to make mask-wearing evil and hateful and rejected on their side of the divide.

          If we are doing a forensic autopsy on “what went wrong”, both of those things need to be faced. But only by those people who actually want an actual forensic autopsy on “what went wrong”.

          Biden Derangement Syndrome ( BDS ) is just as much a thing as Trump Derangement Syndrome ( TDS ) is. Either one will blind one’s glasses just as much as both of them together.

    1. griffen

      Dogs are not eating the dog food! And yet, the typical approach from the usual suspects, just for example, Chris Hayes or Rachel Maddow(s), etc… will just preen along with whatever their latest narrative must be. Please continue pulling the other leg, CNN or MSNBC or whichever channel.

      Fox News bad! Donald Trump bad! MTG and MAGA Republicans bad! Joe Biden good! Wow, that isn’t really hard work I guess. \sarc

      1. The Rev Kev

        These days I only watch the TV news to see what the current ‘narrative’ is and the techniques that they use. Some news stories that you see can only be charitably described as detached from reality.

    2. Screwball

      Once again, thanks for the link flora. I wonder, they blame the media, which I agree with for the most part, but many I know refuse to look outside said media. My PMC friends consider anything outside CNN, MSNBC, WaPo, NYT, NPR, etc – fake news. One even commented Substack has nothing worth reading.

      So the news is giving these people just what they are looking for – confirmation biased news to fit what they WANT to hear. If one of these news outlets started printing truth, they would seek their news somewhere else because they don’t like to hear what IS actually true.

      They are proud of their own ignorance, and the news is happy to oblige because of clicks and add revenue.

      1. Mildred Montana

        Although confidence ratings for the media are dismally low across the board, it seems there are still some stubborn, credulous Democrats out there.

        From 2022:

        1. Democrats’ confidence in newspapers is 35% (must be all those NYT believers). Republicans, at a contemptuous 5%(!), have emphatically given them the finger.
        2. Democrats’ confidence in television news is 20%. Republicans’ 8%. Oh, those pesky, skeptical, Fox-watching Repubs!

    3. Pat

      Wow, it looks like much of America are smarter than most of our elite think, even if they do trust Musk.

      The saddest things in that are in the polls regarding Democratic choices with or without Biden. Stacy Abrams and more particularly Andrew Cuomo still have not burned down their brands enough. They still get mentioned. Poor Marianne Williamson can’t get a break, more people go for Abrams or Cuomo in one or both of those polls. Unfortunately it is also clear that not enough people have made the connection between the false Russian stories and Clinton. We don’t just need fire, but a stake and salted earth to end both her and her husband.

    4. Martin Oline

      Thanks for the link Flora. I also want to thank you for consistently posting links to stories that I (we) have not seen, are unaware, or as in my case just to damn lazy to find for ourselves. Your posts are highly appreciated.

    5. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that Greenwald tweet, flora. I have often thought that the news media of a nation should serve as a sort of nervous system so that the body politic would be able to know what was going on around it and would be able to respond properly to what is ‘sensed.’ It should be. But looking through those tweets, I would say that our body politic has the nervous system of a person with Parkinson’s disease and that explains why we lurch from one crisis to another and never getting it right.

      1. flora

        If the national news media serves as the external inputs to the USA body politic’s system, and if those media’s inputs are entirely wacky, then how could the nation’s body politic be anything else but wacky? / ;)

        adding: there used to be a phrase, encompassing both northern and southern US states before the US civil war, called “Yankee shrewdness”. (We were all Yankees to the European aristocrats before the civil war.)
        Funny thing that the “yankee” shrewdness is still a thing in most of the USA, regardless of party. / ;)

      2. skippy

        Those graphs some years back showing the consolidation of media is all one needs to observe Kev, all greased by political donations and investor desires.

        Its kinda like the deal with the term democratic capitalism in links being confused for share holder plutocracy.

    6. John k

      Thanks, thought I was in small minority. Wonder where people are getting their news.
      Afaik they do believe Ukraine will win, China balloon was spying, etc.

      1. jobs

        And that the COVID-19 “response” was about “public health” because government officials and the media said so.

        Except if that were true, we’d have #M4A.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Biden said Zelenskyy gave ‘flat assurance’ he won’t use F-16s in Russia: Ukraine live updates”

    So if an F-16 fighter flies at the Russian border, launches several missiles, then turns away before crossing that border – does that count for not using it in Russia? Biden was being interviewed in Hiroshima and was asked by a reporter ‘How would you respond to the [claims of Russian Foreign affairs ministry] that supplying F-16s is a colossal risk?’

    Biden, who can never resist the urge to punch down when he thinks that he is in a superior position, answered ‘It is for them’ (8 secs)

    Immediately, several hundred hot-shot Russian fighter jocks shouted ‘Challenge accepted!’

    1. Polar Socialist

      Then there’s the unfortunate issue that Russia and USA/Ukraine have different definitions for “in Russia”. For Russians, Russia begins from the administrative Nikolaev-Kherson border, for some people in Ukraine actual Russia begins about 600 km East from that border, on the far side of Rostov.

      That’s a bigger difference than the combat range of an F-16.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Given that the Russians have plenty of S-400’s to deploy in eastern Ukraine, I find it unlikely that the F-16’s will make any difference. Unless they plan to use them as “standoff” missile launchers from inside Poland/Romania, which would be a huge escalation.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Can you imagine what would happen if one of those F-16s defected to the Russian Federation? You can bet, going by past performance, that the US demand that the Russians return it at once. The Russians could announce a payment of $10 million for the first pilot to do so. Even if no pilot took them up on the offer, can you imagine the paranoia in those squadrons and their western sponsors?

        2. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

          It won’t be the F-16s that get used in Russia – just the ordnance that they launch.

          But what happens after one (or more) get shot down while over Polish airspace…

  9. Pat

    Paul Simon talks about hearing loss as reposted in Yahoo.

    This was from a longer interview in The NY Times. There are many things about his attitude changes and cancelled tour. But what struck me was that his doctors cannot explain the large loss of hearing in his left ear, that he had a hard battle with Covid, and the indication that some but not all hearing has been recovered.

    Considering all the various hearing difficulties that have been associated with Covid, I have to wonder if this is not that. The question being whether this has been explored at all or if it has why it was rejected if it was. And yes, I can imagine Simon keeping that to himself if he thought it would add to the loss that not being able to tour has already done.

      1. Pat

        There are too many reports of auditory issues with Covid 19, most notably tinnitus, to discount that it, or dare I say it the “vaccines” for it, could cause greater auditory problems. And I am pretty damn sure that Simon can and would be seeing experts in this area. If they cannot give a cause….

        1. Jason Boxman

          And tinnitus is no small thing; It can lead to suicidal ideation and actual suicide.

          1. uhh Clem

            The knowledge that one will never again experience the joy of quiet, of silence, ever, until the grave, is no small thing to accept. After years as a drummer I at least saw (had) it coming, can’t imagine the experience of a sudden onset like what the current crop of C19-related victims seem to be having. Horrific.

        2. rowlf

          I had a mild case of tinnitus due to working around jet engines even with the best hearing protection and annual hearing testing. (Noise can enter through sinus cavities and by bone conduction.) I left that work area eighteen years ago.

          After being vaccinated there are days when the volume knob gets cranked up.

      2. Mildred Montana

        I contracted Covid in February 2020. Among other nasty symptoms (chills, cough, conjunctivitis, intractable headache, loss of sense of taste and appetite) I lost approximately 80% of my hearing in both ears.

        It got back to almost normal in a few months but still some residual hearing loss. Not too serious however.

    1. Raymond Sim

      Unilateral hearing loss eh?

      Speaking subject to correction, I believe most cases where cause can be determined will be due to hypoxia/ischemia, new viral infection, or reactivated viral infection. Thus “horses not zebras” says it’s Covid sequelae.

      This play-pretend of ‘mystery’ disease is really getting old.

  10. JW

    Ah Statistics!
    Panama Canal imposes shipping restrictions to cope with worsening drought
    The months of Feb to April represent about 4.5% of annual rainfall, so 50% of bugger all is indeed bugger all.
    Not likely to tell us much about the rest of the year.

  11. John

    The Eliot Cohen and Bernard Levy articles cannot possibly be as foolish as the titles imply. As each is behind a paywall, I have no means of verifying that contention so it shall have to stand until and unless refuted by someone with access.

    1. Will is the place if you’re in the mood for some wall climbing

      Although I wonder sometimes of the social utility of helping some writers make a jail break

      1. Jonathan King

        A friend told me about recently, and I’ve been experimenting with it to crack paywalls resistant to cookie-clearing … my default approach, which works well sometimes and not at other times. The same is proving true of, I must report preliminarily. On the one hand, it cracks The Atlantic’s recently strengthened paywall pretty reliably, but has failed to make a dent in the L.A. Times’s “You’re out of free reads” bulwark. Too little data (= too few tries) yet to say much more, but it does appear to be a useful add-on to the Info Wants to Be Free armamentorium.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        Thanks for this. The book being reviewed sounds rather similar to how many Western writers (regardless of political affiliation or nationality) wrote and write about Russia, with a similar typical reception among local readers.

      2. Dida

        I did like this passage from BHL, quoted in the NYT review.

        He sees Warren Beatty at a public event “among these rich and beautiful who, as always in America… form a masquerade of the living dead, each one more facelifted and mummified than the next, fierce, a little mutant-looking, inhuman…”

        Even a vapid, warmongering opportunist like BHL can get it right from time to time.

    2. R.S.

      Frankly, the Cohen piece comes off more as a collection of rallying cries cobbled together than as a real article. An inset says it was “adapted from a speech given to the Polish Institute of International Affairs’s Strategic Ark conference”, so no surprise.

      And it’s all about “information warfare” along with giving Ukraine everything they need (short of the Bomb, I hope). Some quotes:
      We should want victory as Ukraine defines it. But to achieve it, the West must not only aid in the defeat of Russia — it must convince Russia that it has been defeated.

      Russian defeat {…} will be achieved inside the heads of Russia’s leaders and population.

      To be brutal about it, we need to see masses of Russians fleeing, deserting, shooting their officers, taken captive, or dead. The Russian defeat must be an unmistakably big, bloody shambles.

      The West needs an aggressive information campaign to drive home the reality of Russian defeat. Russians need to be reminded that their faltering economy is only a tenth the size of the EU’s; that they cannot build and deploy a modern tank; that their latest high-performance jet, the Su-57, will be outnumbered by the F-35s of the four small Nordic states; that their generals are superannuated and incompetent; that their high command is indifferent to their men’s lives; that their equipment is inferior to that of Ukraine; and that their logistics are rotted by graft and corruption.

      So we need to unleash the relentless march of our press battalions, pounding ’em with high precision opinion pieces and tactical paperbacks, yada-yada.

  12. tevhatch

    China C-19 mitigation in Hospitals
    Central Air is still fairly rare in China, it’s usually only found in high end hotels and most recent high end office buildings. I have not been back since C-19 started, but I’m kind of surprised to hear there are hospitals with it. North of the Yangzi River heat was radiator/radiant, while South of ithere was no heat until split unit heat pumps became available. Window/split units are pretty much standard in any high rise, and not just in China but much of Asia. I gave up trying to buy an apartment in Canada because I could not wrap my head around sharing recirculated air with everyone living in the same building. The weak spot in China has always been the substandard quality of the waste water seal system used in most buildings, I wonder if that has changed. Hong Kong has better build standards, but lack of maintenance led to SARS-COVID-2 blow out, and still nothing changed in China. CPC sometimes can move heaven and earth for relatively minor goals, so it’s a head scratcher.

    USA owned Moldova Corruption – Grayzone
    Isn’t Moldova one of those boulevards that intersect K-street in Washington? :-P
    One of my favorite news sites.

  13. Pete

    The next time a driverless car blocks our entire narrow street for almost an hour, we will take a sledgehammer to it, starting witht the sensors and all the glass. It’s just a property crime for self defense of working class people, privacy and public transit.

    Certain streets should be off limits to these things, like tight streets, rails and near schools.

    Re: Ukriane, how do the American people benefit from our hundreds of billions of tax dollars going there? Is there even one “Democrat” that voted against that?

    1. jobs

      Isn’t the US MIC one of the country’s largest government jobs programs? So presumably plenty of regular USians benefit from it.

  14. OIFVet

    Re Taught For America, Year Zero

    While the specific social factors which affect educational outcomes are different in Bulgaria than in the US, the article describes many of the same challenges that I’ve faced this school year teaching high school English. Right down to the utter uselessness of the Bulgarian affiliate of Teach For America when it comes to making any real difference in challenging schools. I quit the program because I simply refused to waste my time on TFA assignments which had no bearing on the real classroom challenges I face daily. The whole purpose of this “motivated and capable teachers as saviors” is to deflect the spotlight from the social ills which affect education and to place the blame for policy failure on teachers. Frankly, TFA is a cancer and Wendy Kopp is a fraudulent huckster.

    1. curlydan

      The teacher blaming is what I took away from the Matt Yglesias articles following the TFA article. Obama’s whole education reform shtick seemed like a way to say: let’s put some real pressure (monetary and job threats) on these teachers to get them to teach better. Reformers continually looks to blame or pressure groups for poor performance by the students.

      The TFA article made it seem like these poor teachers are greatly outnumbered. I’d like to see a TFA type program that does the following: (1) makes the TFA recruits into classroom assistants and not the main teacher and (2) relieves them of their college debts.

      I’ve done some weekly reading volunteer work with 1st and 2nd graders in the past year–kind of as a prelude to possibly trying teaching as a second career. I was quickly disabused of that idea and now know that I would likely go crazy as a teacher. But these schools need help and helping hands.

      If there’s one out of control kid in the classroom, a TFA assistant goes and deals with that child. Maybe have 2-3 assistants in each classroom. Or maybe halve the amount teachers teach. It’s just insane the demands on those poor educators.

  15. .Tom

    > They’re openly saying it: Brexit has failed. But what comes next may be very dark indeed Guardian

    It’s the The Guardian so they have to stand in opposition to all that Farage says. But he’s not entirely wrong when he says:

    ‘On Newsnight, Farage made the latter choice. Yes, it was true that Britain had “not actually benefited from Brexit economically” but that was because “useless” politicians had “mismanaged this totally”.’

    Brexit was likely to bring economic distress to Britain no matter what but it’s also true that the politicians totally mismanaged the implementation.

    This is becoming a common thing, it seems, when politicians I dislike in the extreme so easily tell the truth. I suspect it’s because establishment politicians are so busy telling enormous lies to protect their own privilege that demagogues can forward their agenda by countering that with the truth. It’s all so depressing.

  16. Wukchumni

    Oh, nobody’s default but mine, yeah
    Nobody’s default but mine, yeah
    Trying to save ourselves come what May
    Oh, it’s nobody’s default but mine

    My Kevin he told Joey to roll back
    The devil in the details he told Biden to roll-oll-oll, oh
    How to roll back the $32 trillion debt tonight
    Nobody’s default but mine

    Brother he showed me whats going on
    Brother he showed me the ding dong ding dongs
    How to kick-start that economy to life
    Oh, it’s nobody’s default but mine

    Got a debt ceiling monkey on my back
    The m-m-m-m-monkey on my back, back, back, back
    Gonna change my ways tonight
    Nobody’s default but mine

    How to kick-start that economy alright
    N-n-n-n-n-n-nobody’s default

    Nobody’s Fault but Mine, by Led Zeppelin

  17. Ignacio

    RE: Facebook parent Meta hit with record fine for transferring European user data to US AP

    Oh! Europe is preoccupied about user data! We are supposed to believe. For what i have read about the billionaire fines is that they usually go nowhere. Next lie they tell us is that Europe will go against tax havens.

  18. Carolinian

    Re Mass-Transit Systems are Speeding Toward a Cliff–One could take the same set of facts and change it to “many large cities are speeding toward a cliff” but then this is New York Magazine so heretical thinking of that type unlikely. The article says those increasingly empty NYC office towers could be turned into apartments with lower prices to attract tenants. However that’s unlikely to be popular with New York’s all powerful real estate segment and the further transition of the city into a kind of theme park for rich people pre-supposes enough high tax paying wealthy can be found.

    Instead they may be joining Musk in Texas–a relative cultural desert but there’s always Austin City Limits not to mention Netflix.

    1. flora

      I completely understand your claim the SC’s decision could be illegitimate based on political grounds. And yet…
      The claim against it on political grounds is exactly why it’s *not* illegitimate, (imo) because one hopes its decisons *are not* based on heat-of-the-moment political controversies. Even as I disagree with many of their decisions. My 2 cents.

  19. anon in so cal

    Jake Sullivan gave Z greenlight to attack Crimea.

    “We said that we would not allow Ukraine to use American and Western weapons to strike Russia. And we believe that Crimea is Ukraine,” said Jake Sullivan, assistant to the US President for National Security.

  20. Glen

    I don’t normally need to post this link as I think many here already listen, but Alexander Mercouris’s latest vlog really got my attention:

    Ukr Bakhmut Denial, Biden Demands Ukr Offensive, NATO Rehearses, Putin Confident Russian Economy

    Quite a ways into it, he reports an anecdotal story about how Russian emigres are going back to Russia, BECAUSE THE STANDARD OF LIVING IS BETTER. He then goes into more details on the Russian economy.

    My own anecdote is that a close family member recently related that they would rather live in China because that country looks like a better place to live. This really took me by surprise.

    People need to understand what the first Cold War was really about. As much as we talk about the military, it was much more about which country could provide a a decent and rising standard of living for it’s people. American elites don’t seem to care about that anymore. Our country is falling apart. Our middle class is disappearing. Our standard of living is in decline.

  21. Matthew G. Saroff

    Regarding the potential encirclement of Bakhmut, one should note that the past can be prelude.

    Specifically, presenting a tempting salient which has been fortified in depth in order to break an opposing army was done during WWII at Khursk.

    I do not know if this is the specific intent there, but it seems to me that anyone reviewing the situation might want to consider that possibility.

    1. Yves Smith

      Please look at a map of the line of contact. There is no salient at Bakhumut.

      Russia had created a 3/4 cauldron, then chewed in from two sides.

      They shortened the line of contact. What was a big concave in the Russian direction now pretty flat. And around that is a second, looser cauldron. There is no Russian salient here.

      1. Raymond Sim

        I know you don’t need me to tell you, but maps can be deceiving. I took Mr. Saroff to mean that the maniacal defense of Bakhmut may have given the Ukrainians time to prepare suprises – kill boxes behind seeming weak points and that sort of thing. Which I would imagine they are in fact doing. It would give the “frozen war” talk at least a tenuous connection with reality.

        1. Yves Smith

          There are multiple maps, including ones by the very much pro Ukraine Institute of Study of War, that show the same same thing.

          As for defenses, remember this is an era of ISR. Ukraine has been using existing cities with their sturdy buildings as major elements of their defense lines. They also built a lot of trenches and would use dense forested areas. Given that they still think they can retake Bakhumt, its seems unlikely that they mined the roads, which they would need for any counter-offensive. There is no evidence of them having build dragon’s teeth and other tank traps, as the Russians have done on the possible routes into Crimea.

          1. Raymond Sim

            I don’t think it’s a question of whether the Ukrainians have any hope of stopping the Russians, but rather one of whether they can exceed expectations in making Russians bleed. The ensuing discontent in Russia would get touted as the walls closing in on Putin, and, more importantly, be used to discredit western voices pointing out that the war is lost. I’m pretty sure the maniacs on our side would take that as a win, which is why I wonder if it’s not what they’re trying to do.

            I would guess the ability to do it depends on Ukrainian morale more than anything else – the very thing I’d expect Washington to misjudge most badly.

  22. Dida

    Mexico refuses to hand over trade bloc presidency to Peru’s de facto president: President AMLO reiterated that Mexico does not consider Dina Boluarte to be the legal president of Peru since the coup against Pedro Castillo. ‘President AMLO said that there was a consensus between Mexico, Colombia and Chile not to give the presidency’ of the Pacific Alliance to Peru.

    First good news I’ve read in a long time. So refreshing. I won’t need to watch playing goat kids on YouTube for comfort today.

  23. some guy

    ” Brexit has failed”.

    Were there specific geographical regions of UK which voted overwhelmingly for Brexit? Were there other regions which voted overwhelmingly against it? If the vote was mixed everywhere across UK, more “this way” in some places and more “that way” in other places, then I see no way out or forward for the UK. EUrope probably has better sense than to let Britain re-associate with EU as anything other than an obedient and non-dangerous protectorate.

    But if some regions were overwhelmingly against it, and those regions are mainly centered on Wales, Scotland and perhaps other discrete areas, then perhaps Wales and Scotland at least can declare and actuate Independence from the UK and appeal for entry into the EU as separate nations on the basis of their having been so strongly pro-remain to begin with. They would pose little risk of playing ” give us this day our daily extortion or we quit” games.

    If they were to leave a Brexited UK and rejoing EU as separate Countries, they could leave the pro-brexit remains of the ” rump UK” behind and abandon Brexitannia to its fate.

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